Plunder the Egyptians April 2022

Dr. Tim Foster - 6 April 2022

Building Your Leadership Pipeline

One of our most popular Masterclasses has been Building a Leadership Pipeline. Developing and supporting future leaders in our churches is clearly a strong felt-need among pastors. There are plenty of great books, podcasts and other resources out there. Many of these are from secular contexts but have real relevance for our own. If you want to upskill in this area, start with some of these valuable resources.

The Leadership Pipeline: How to Build the Leadership-Powered Company
by Ram Charan, Stephen Drotter and James Noel. Jossey-Bass, 2001.

The primary context for this book is developing leaders in large companies with several levels of management. This is a long way from the contexts of churches and many Christian organisations. However, if you really want to be deliberate about developing future leaders, this is a key text which offers plenty of principles that are transferable to other contexts, including churches. The focus is on developing a model for identifying future leaders, assessing their competencies, planning their development, and measuring the results. The authors demonstrate how to develop leaders by understanding the six critical passages a leader in a large corporate context must navigate, and by providing the appropriate development for navigating those passages. The book also considers reasons for pipeline failures and how to coach people within this framework. This is a serious read for those who are willing to consider how this important model can be adapted to their context.

Developing Your Leadership Pipeline
Jay A. Conger and Robert M. Fulmer
Harvard Business Review

In this practical article from Harvard Business Review Jay Conger and Robert Fuller outline an approach that combines succession planning and leadership development. Drawing on their research they offer five rules for building a reliable and steady leadership pipeline:

  • focus on development
  • identify linchpin positions
  • make it transparent
  • measure progress regularly
  • keep it flexible.

This is a clever approach that offers some very useful insights.

Understanding the Leadership Challenges of First-Time Managers: Strengthening Your Leadership Pipeline
William A. Gentry, Paige Logan, and Scott Tonidande
Center for Creative Leadership

Leadership development is most critical at key transition points. The biggest and most important transition point is the first significant leadership role. This well-researched white paper highlights the particular challenges these leaders face, and provides a valuable perspective as we think about developing the leadership pipeline. The key is to recognise the specific issues faced by first time managers (FTMs) and to provide specific training, coaching and support to address these. Some of the areas for training and support are not always obvious. The article also provides advice on developing managerial and personal effectiveness, and considers some of the particular issues faced by female FTMs.

Filling the Leadership Pipeline: Driving Forces and their Effect on the Next Generation of Nonprofit Leaders
Kristin G. Linscot
SPNA Review

With so many Baby Boomers coming up for retirement, this article considers the generational issues for leadership pipelines in non-profit organisations. In particular, Linscot provides a research-based answer to the question, ’Why are succeeding generations not stepping up into non-profit leadership?’. She examines the driving forces of the non-profit sector and their effects on the long-term career plans of up-and-coming talent. Recommendations focus on organisational structure, human resource policy succession planning, sabbaticals, consistent focus on professional development, and the importance of personal action and responsibility.

How to Create a Leadership Pipeline (37:45)
Craig Hamilton

Craig Hamilton is an Anglican minister in Sydney, so this is not really ‘plundering the Egyptians’. But Craig does a very good job of setting out ten key principles for creating a leadership pipeline which appear to be loosely based on the core principles of The Leadership Pipeline above. His last principle is especially apposite – Life is often not as neat as the pipeline.

Also, try Mac Lake: Building A Leadership Pipeline

Episode 31 – How’s Your Leadership Pipeline?: Strategies for Growing Your Team’s Leadership
Beth Armknecht Miller (54:44)

This interview is a helpful introduction to the key principles for developing a leadership pipeline. The focus is on smaller businesses, and so is readily transferable to many Christian contexts. Start at the 9-minute mark. It is not so much a systematic approach, but it provides some useful insights, including the importance of distinguishing between high performers and high potentials. The interview also explores the importance of identifying and developing soft skills in future leaders (such as EQ and active listening). It includes valuable advice on some key HR functions, and inspiration to renew our commitment to developing our team.


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